is mine to protect, mine to shelter, mine to feed and mine to cover. When she
is weak, I shall be her strength. She was stolen from her world by our captors.
Now her survival is my responsibility. It is her duty to endure my lust,
respect my nest mates and honour our union with offspring. I revere this giver
of life, as is the way.”~ Venomous One,
formerly of Rök, enslaved gladiator
“Six things a woman should not have
to deal with: 1) More than one barbaric alien lover/life mate. 2) Long term
stay on a slave planet where you’re one female amongst thousands of ‘needy’
males. 3) Killer space pirates. 4) Psychotic mother-in-law. 5) Putting your
alien lover/life mates’ species under the threat of annihilation because you
ticked off the wrong Slave Chieftain. 6) A marauding overlord with a harem four
hundred strong who is determined to make you concubine number four hundred and
one. My name is Lumen. I am stranded in a galaxy far, far away and here be huge
f***ing aliens.”~ Lumen Young, formerly of Earth, lost in space
Abducted from Earth and transported to a slave planet in an unknown galaxy,
Lumen finds herself, shackled, naked and put on display before an alien horde.
Told the males will battle for the right to slake their lusts with her body,
she would become the slave of slaves. Venomous One, a proud warrior enslaved,
has given up hope of returning to his home world and finding a life mate. When
a female is tossed into the arena his soul demands he claim her. Winning his
mate by Right of Might, he vows to protect Lumen and be a good provider, no
matter how ugly her human appearance. Rescued by Venomous’ people, the couple
face space pirates, the condemnation of an alien government, galactic war, and
a deadlier threat from within the warrior’s own kindred.
violence, profanity and sexual situations with multiple partners.
Light, a short story Penelope wrote. But when I had a hunt for the blurb I
discovered she’d just released this book, Venomous. Caught by the intriguing
description, I bought the book and spent the next week squeezing in
reading time every where possible.
doesn’t stop. This is a rip-roaring adventure/sci-fi/romance like I’ve been
waiting for. The world building is phenomenal; the characters leap off the
pages. It is an irresistibly incredible read. But don’t just take my word for
it. This book was released on December 24 and already has OVER 200 REVIEWS!
With a 4.7 ranking!!!
worry if you hate cliff-hangers – this
is a standalone tale within a series. Penelope was kind enough to agree to do
an interview, so after I finished the book I fired off a list of questions.
Below are her answers.
it, Read it, LOVE IT
Interview With Penelope
mixed themes/genres within your book Venomous are utterly intriguing. What was
the first scene that sprung to mind to create this tale?
brutal in the original draft, but Venomous came off cutthroat, and closed off
emotionally. This is why I added his perspective. I touch in this in more
detail in a later question. I didn’t feel he suited Lumen, nor would she respond
well to the cruelty. I pulled it way
back. Good thing too, as many reviews have said this book is extreme in that
aspect. For it to have been more so
might have proved too distressing. Which is worrying because the third book is
going to feature a malicious anti-hero so … hmm.
play with a variety of ‘clichéd’ ideas, putting an original spin on each of
them. Which was your favourite to create?
male’ trope in science fiction romance. Making sure the aliens in my universe
were alien was a blast! Aliens wouldn’t
look or think like us. Their culture would be such a shock, I doubt many would
fair well. We (as a spieces) barely tolerate people who are human and diferent.
We freak out over skin colour, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious faith
and scientific belief. The list is endless. In Venomous, I wanted it clear, while the Ra males might want to
procreate, and be compelled by their primal selves that they would not consider
a human beautiful for no good reason. The assumption human women would be considered
gorgeous by aliens reflects a misplaced sense of superiority about our status
in the grand scheme of the universe, in my opinion.
loved the references from various shows that popped up – can you list the shows
you snuck in there? I’d love to spot them when I re-read the book.
Bang Theory because I wanted to highlight the difference between Lumen and Venomous
with as much subtly as I did obviousness. It was a way to differentiate between
human pop culture and the stoic alien culture. I don’t recall others I put in
there on purpose. If you find any let me know!
is thrown into an extreme situation, can you tell us how she was first
abducted? Or will that pop up as a novella (hint hint!)
(Venomous was 180k and that was after editing of scenes that didn’t push the
story forward). I was vague about her abduction as it made the book too dark. The
story started with Lumen being taken from earth, treated like cattle, branded,
stripped, debased, and experimented on. Not romantic in the least! I would have
had to be far more descriptive of her traumatised state by the time she reached
‘the pit’ and Venomous, meaning the mating scene would have been difficult to
move forward from (this was always meant to be a romance novel). I also kept
this part of the book brief as slavery is a difficult topic. I’m desendant from
mulatto slaves down my maternal line, and it disturbed me to research what my
ancestors went through, what people still
go through today. There are an estimated 29 million modern slaves around the
world right now. Scary stuff. Should
any readers have further interest they can read here, Modern Slavery. I doubt there will be a novella as my writing schedule is packed, and the
deleted scenes are too disjointed, so would need a major overhaul I don’t have
time to dedicate to *sad face*
read the book, gifted it to a friend and recommended it to many others the
frequent question everyone seems to have is, ‘Is she writing the next one?’ So,
hot, so while I’ll still work on them, I try to push them down on the schedule,
so the more popular books are brought out more frequently. I have to write Ash first (Book Three in Dragon Souls) as I fear those readers
will hunt me with pitchforks if I delay as I did with book two in that series.
As the response to Thunderclaw was so
positive, it’s now number two on my list. A release later this year is looking
very firm, and I’ve got the working book cover ready.
much research, and what subjects in particular did you do for this book?
my head like so much debris. I remember during the scene on the Trekker (Ra spaceship)
I kept thinking of my visit with my Dad to the old clipper ship Cuttty Sark
from the National Historical Fleet when I was younger (before it burned down).
I learned lots of ship terms from that visit I’ve just never forgotten. That’s
where the idea for pirates came from, if anybody wondered. Things that inspire
or move me get stuck in my brain. My family travelled a lot, and I was
fortunate enough to live for a couple of years in other countries (a few
islands in the West Indies and Ghana in Africa amongst them) as well as
different places in the UK. As a child, I was fascinated by other cultures. I
still am. I did Indian dancing for two years (like they use for Bollywood),
wandered into a Sikh temple once just to see what was up (as I was small and
curious they were okay about my missing headdress, explained their beliefs to
me, and gave me prashad (a delicious
sweet you eat with your right hand), so I was happy enough until my Mum hunted
me down). I’ve walked preserved war trenches in Belgium from WW1 (Ypres
Salient), which was freaky, and left me chilled all day. I looked into WW1, so
understand the human cost of sloppy/botched diplomacy, and it spews out ever so
often into my writing. I use public transport and do market visits whenever I
can when on holiday (as long as it’s safe), and I remember a particulalry bad
roadside market in Africa. With all the strange sights and smells, I puked everywhere, so Lumen on the slave planet
got a little of that. I’ve swum in shark/jellyfish infested waters with my
thrill seeker Aunt from a yacht to a small island off the shores of Antigua
(didn’t know they were shark/jellyfish infested until at the midway point, am
lucky to be alive) which was the inspiration for the Verak atolls as we swum
near/over reefs. I have visited the Caribs in Dominica (the remaining indigenous
people of the Carribean islands) and that was the inspiration for Lumen’s
of people, have so many experiences from my childhood and teenage years stored
that research is primarily to clarify techincal terms for things I’ve seen, so
other people might better understand what I’m conveying. Because writing is so
intensive, I’ve done little to no travelling in the last five years. But after
2016, I’ll be taking a break to wander for a bit as an adult.
book is pretty darn massive (and yet still not long enough for this rabid
reader!) how long did it take to create?
first 50k as Venomous One was evil.
Jeez, he was such an evil sod. It wasn’t what I wanted for Lumen. She was
coming off as bitter and shrewish in reaction to his evilness. I came close to
scrapping the whole thing, but as I loved the general idea, I rewrote it
(writers will know how painful this was). So, though I had other projects to be
getting on with, I went back to the drawing board. I kept the core scenes the
same, but changed character reactions at pivotal points, which then changed the
novel’s tone. The result was my ‘between big releases’ 50k novel turned into a
monstrocity I had to force myself to end. I wanted to have Lumen giving birth, and
more time with Cobra, but we must remember at the time I figured the book would
get a few hundred sales then languish as some of my other more ‘out there’
books have. Putting even more time in when I had Ash to be getting on with was voted as a mismanagement of time, and
as being successful as a self published writer is getting harder by the day, I
didn’t feel I was making sensible choices. Over Christmas, I was sad, because I
had fallen in love with writing Beowyn’s character, of the possibility of him, and wanted him to have a HEA. So…. I snuck in
that Authors Note to see if people would be interested in a sequel. Got my
answer didn’t I? *grin*
there are rather a few explicit sex scenes in this book, do you consider it
erotic? It felt so absolutely Sci-fi romance to me I almost felt the ‘erotic’
genre didn’t deserve it!
considered changing it when I pull out of Kindle exclusivity to publish the
book on the other retailers. I have readers as young as 11 years old as I write
young adult and new adult books too. I do feel a social responsibility to try
and separate out my more erotic adult fiction, at the least make it clear that
is what it is. I do have an erotica pen name, but Venomous landed too much into the romance side of things. I know
there are parental controls in place, but young, determined readers can be very
resourceful (I was once one myself). Also, my aliens are alien, the sex is detailed, and some people find interacial sex
jarring let alone interspiecial sex with an alien race, sentient beings or not.
I just wanted to make it clear until the initial reviews came in, so people
weren’t caught too much by surprise. Many tend to ignore the warnings I put at
the bottom of my blurbs then complain the content was too explicit in reviews….
of sex scenes … How were they to write? (They are H.O.T!)
really fun. Most menage relationships feature detailed sex, but I find they read
quite typical to the point where I skip pages. Oral sex and self play are
underrated, and can be more intimate than intercourse. It was also funny. There
were times I’d turn around to my boyfriend and say, “Now, imagine we’re having
sex, and you have four arms, a forked tongue and there are two other guys with
four arms with us…” He’d stare, pinch his nose and sigh. And this is from a guy
who is used to my weirdness, so I
knew I was pushing it. The only thing I stumbled over was using the Japenese
term Bukkake (do not Google it unless
you have a strong disposition). It literally means “heavy splash” and I thought
it was prettier than more vulgar langauage Lumen could have used during the
last intimate scene. But it’s being currently used in a, um, festishised manner
an indie author tackling a rather out there concept did you have doubts about
perspective changes. I worried my aliens were too alien. I worried it was
stupidly long. Mostly, I worried over the opening mating scene. It was rape to
Lumen, by human standards, but to Venomous, in his culture, it wasn’t (though
he comes to realise it affected her horribly). I’m surprised people aren’t
slamming me down for it. As I said, I pulled it way back, and changed a lot of
what happened to tone it down, but still, it can be uncomfortable to read.
Readers generally do not like when
the hero rapes the heroine (forced seduction in dark romance is popular at the
moment, however). I personally hate
it, yet I wrote it into my story. Rape happens, and isn’t something people
should turn away from because it’s ugly. Silence gives abusers power, and even
in films, novels, etc, not acknowledging this contributes to passive acceptance
of how things are in the real world. I did read a review that insinuated Lumen
enjoyed her rape because she orgasmed. She didn’t enjoy it (this is made clear),
but this does happen to women, who then feel ashamed to speak about it in fear
of exactly that reaction, disbelief, blame even outright rejection of the claim
they were raped meaning it is underreported, and these women are not counciled
for it. This leads to severe psychological issues later on on the victims lives
because even they don’t understand it’s not something broken in them, but a
biological response. It’s due to the nervous system’s response during the
attack (blood rushing, nerve-ending sensitivity heightened from fear), and has nothing to do with the woman’s concious
state, which is confused and in turmoil. Often the mind shuts down to let the
body take over just to survive. The story didn’t lend itself to an out and out
explanation of this, and I didn’t feel moved to explain it in the afterword,
but I did have doubts people might not understand it, or why Lumen reacted the
way she did.
you read sci-fi, and if so who are your fav authors and why?
authors. My fav’s (in random order) are The
Syn-En Solution by Linda Andrews, The
Spawning by Kaitlyn O’Conner, To Clan
and Conquer by Tracy St John and Cottonwood
by R. Lee Smith, but no one is on my Must Buy list. The genre is becoming more
popular, so that will probably change.
was delighted to see the multiple points of view in Venomous, why did you
decided to use them?
rewrite, I realised Venomous’ voice was too strong to ignore, and his culture
was so vibrant, seeing it only from Lumen’s human perspective wasn’t enough.
Even Fiercely and Cobra snuck in there. I loved
writing Cobra’s chapter. He was such a sweetie.
such a massive story covering a vast number of species/planets/systems – how do
you keep track of it all?
down. I never do. The story is so vivid
in my imagination, and though a
completely different planet and culture, Thunderclaw
is pretty much written in my head. I just have to get it onto the computer. I
outline plot points for subsequent books in a series to ensure I don’t wander
too far from the original story arc, but the smaller details I remember.
is skyrocketing on amazon.com – that must be a rather dizzying experience, have
you hit these numbers before (and if so, with which books?)
some aggressive genre Top100 lists for over a week, which I think was its peak.
Crazy, as I expected it to hit the 10k’s for a few months. The category I’d
like to do well in is impossible to come out on top of at the moment, in any
case, as the Outlander series by
Diana Gabaldon is entrenched there. Fingers crossed Thunderclaw does better. Only my books Compel and Enchant did
similar/better than Venomous in
release month (on Kindle), though at lower price points ($2.99). Compel was in the .com Top100 storewide
for a handful of days in 2011. Burn
was in the overall 100 of the US, UK, CA and AU iBookstores a year ago
(Jan2014), but the sales numbers in comparison are smaller to reflect Apple’s
priced at $4.99 is holding its own against authors who are more experienced in
the genre. I wish I felt happier about it, but I’m already on to the next one,
anxious to get lost in one of my worlds again.